While the suspect was indeed guilty of shoplifting, a brutal and bloody K-9 attack from a Brentwood police dog seems little much for a suspect who's not violent, in another East Bay case that’s raising questions about use of K-9 force.
A December 2020 K-9 attack on an Uber driver in San Ramon who was merely late on car payments was recently described by use-of-force experts as “cops gone wild.” The city of Richmond recorded 73 K-9 police attacks that resulted in serious injury during a five-year span of 2014 to 2019. And the latest police dog attack is sure to add to the discourse of violent use of K-9s, as KTVU breaks the news of a K-9 biting the scalp off a woman in a brutal 2020 incident that was captured on bodycam footage, and may end up costing the city millions in a civil lawsuit settlement.
Do you really want to watch a four-minute video of a German Shepard literally gnawing the scalp off a live human being, a woman whose head is then coated with blood and visible internal tissue? It’s above if you want to, but is surely a disturbing and difficult watch.
"My whole brain is bleeding!" she shrieks at one point. To which the officer responds,"We're going to help you…but you shouldn't run from the police."
It’s unclear if she was running, but then-24-year-old Tamika Bates was hiding from police at the time of the attack. And she had indeed participated in the above-mentioned $10,000 cosmetics heist, ultimately pleading guilty to felony grand theft and spending 120 days in jail. But her attorneys may have a point in, as they say in the lawsuit, they sicced the attack dog on an “ unarmed young lady without providing any warning or a reasonable opportunity to surrender."
Her attorneys did not mince words in the suit. "This unbridled use of an apparent blood thirsty dog to track, hunt and then attack an unarmed fleeing woman as she lay in a set of bushes harkens back to the days of slavery and slave catchers," the U.S. District Court lawsuit says.
The suit does not ask for a specific sum of money, but instead “general damages in a sum according to proof,” plus legal and medical costs, and “such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”
Related: San Ramon Police Sic Attack Dog on Uber Driver Who’d Merely Missed Car Payments [SFist]
Image: City of Brentwood